Look for 2 adults on the nest. The adult pair will show pair bonding behaviors such as vocalizations, aerial sky dances, and the male feeding the female fish. You may see the pair copulating, which typically begins 14 days before laying eggs.
Females will lay 1 - 4 eggs at a rate of one egg every 1 - 2 days. After laying, incubation starts. Look for adults taking turns sitting low in the nest incubating eggs. The incubation period can last 35 - 43 days.
Chicks hatch ~39 days after incubation begins. Look for adults bringing food to the nest and making "head bows" into the center. Chicks typically can't be seen until they are 2 - 3 weeks old, so feeding behavior is the only way to know chicks are there.
Around 4 weeks after hatching, look for the heads of chicks to show over the rim of the nest, particularly when adults bring food to the nest. Other times they lie flat and are harder to see. Count the number of chicks in the nest before they learn to fly
Chicks begin flying around 7 - 8 weeks old, and are still fed by the adults. Count the number of chicks who have successfully fledged the nest and are observed flying.
Chick Last Observed
4 - 10 weeks after fledging, chicks begin leaving the nest area to migrate south, once they have learned to fly and feed themselves. Record the date that the last chick left the nest.
Look for signs of nest failure like adult abandonment, adults no longer incubating eggs or feeding young.
4/25/23 Sunny, light breeze, temps mid 50's. Sadly, no new nesting material - in fact any old material had disappeared, and no ospreys anywhere near the MC3 platform. We saw a pair of ospreys in the tree nest visible from the walking trail and from the road, with the female sitting low and male by her side. We have learned that this is NOT the pair that had been on MC3 last year.
While watching MC3 we noticed an osprey land on the distant platform (MC2?), and within a short time a second osprey came and they mated. No sign of nesting material but hopefully that will bring some activity to that platform.
No other activity to report other than a few blackbirds and tree swallows nearby, and sounds recorded on Merlin of Cardinals, Carolina Wrens, Eastern Towhees and a few other birds.
4/18/2023 12:00 noon 62 sunny degrees wind W 10-20 mph
We observed MC3 on a sunny, breezy day with temperatures in the low to mid 60s. We are sorry to report that there was no new activity on the platform. We observed several osprey flying overhead, but they did not show any interest in the platform. Also spotted two American bald eagles sitting in a tree across Marshy Creek and a flock of small unknown ducks in Marshy Creek. RM and SR
Today we observed MC3 on a sunny day - temps mid 60s, light winds, medium to high tide. Sadly, there was no new activity on the platform since our last visit on March 29th. The same few strands of nesting material remained unchanged. We saw 3 or more ospreys flying overhead, and one actually landed for a few minutes in a dead tree near the observation platform, then took off and flew overhead for a few minutes before heading to pine trees across Marshy Creek. We spotted a nest in a tree visible from the walk to the observation deck, off to the right beyond the hummock trail. There was one osprey in it.
We are wondering if this might be the pair that nested on MC3 last year, who found a leftover nest in a tree and decided that was more appealing. Just speculation.
All the winter and migrating ducks that had been in Marsh Creek on 3/29 were gone, and there was no other birding activity over the creek or marshes.
Susan and Peter Hale
4/4/2023 1l:30 AM 66 sunny degrees Wind S 11 mph. Observed several ospreys flying around in the pine trees. One osprey landed on the platform and spent around 5 minutes looking around before flying away. While we were on the observation deck, we also observed several white heron and a flock of ducks on Marshy Creek. RM & SR
MARCH 29,2023 - Sunny, chilly - low to mid 50's, light wind.
While we saw two ospreys hanging out in the pine trees, and a possible third osprey, none of these went to the platform and there are just one or two pieces of nesting material there. However, we saw a crow land on the platform and knock off some of the material.
On the walk to MC3 I spotted an osprey perched in a tree to the right, beyond the hummock trail. That is the area where the ospreys seemed to fly around, rather than out over the platform. While we were on the observation deck Peter spotted an osprey flying with nesting material and a stick. It wasn't headed to the platform but rather back toward the pine trees.
On the way back I noticed that there is a large nest off to the left, (the right as you are headed to the observation deck) also beyond the hummock trail area, and we are wondering if that is where the pair we observed are making a nest.
Other things we saw while on the observation platform - a chickadee pair in the trees near the observation deck, a pair of tree swallows chasing each other, at least one not-full-adult bald eagle, a huge flock of ducks resting in Marshy Creek (too far away to ID for sure, but possibly a mix of canvasbacks, buffleheads, etc).
03/21/23 11:00 AM. 48 Sunny degrees Wind SW 3 mph. This is the first observation of MC3 this season. No ospreys seen. One Bald Eagle, two Herring Gulls and several Tree Swallows flew by. Many ducks and two swans were observed on Marshy Creek. SR & RM
08/23/22 0830. Sunny comfortable 75 degrees Wind WNW 7 mph. Two birds on nest, one adult in tree near observation platform. After a few minutes, one bird left nest with fish in talons, circled and disappeared. Then adult left the tree and disappeared. No other activity observed. SR
Today the weather was partly cloudy, low 80's, light winds. When we got to the observation deck there was no sign of ospreys on the platform, so obviously both chicks have fledged. After about 15 minutes one juvenile flew from a pine tree on the edge of the marsh to the nest, and remained there the rest of the hour. There was another osprey heard in the distance, somewhere in the same pine tree area. Perhaps the adults have already left the area. Most noticeable was the fact that there were no other birds or bird sounds. The red-winged blackbirds and kingbirds that have been in the marsh all summer were gone. There were a few terns and possibly laughing gulls out over the water, and one kayaker. No other activity observed.
08/09/22 0715-0815. Sunny 81 humid degrees Feels like 89 degrees. Wind SW 5 mph. One adult in tree near observation platform, eating a fish, produced alarm calls as I arrived on the platform. Three adult sized birds upright on nest. Birds are backlit by sun so no further identification. The Adult in tree delivered his/her fish to the nest and flew off, returning to the tree after about 30 minutes. One chick began eating the fish. Then one bird (chick?) flew a large circle and returned to the nest. No other activity observed. SR
Sunny, hot and humid morning, wind West about 10 mph, temp in upper 80's. When we got there the two chicks were sitting on the left edge of the nest at 10:53 AM, and one adult on the right (mom?). The chicks, one in particular, were flapping their wings, but not jumping up and down. And then !! - at 11:08 AM the more active chick suddenly took off from the nest and did a big circle around the marsh and creek and came back and landed. Neither of the other two ospreys on the nest seemed to act at though this was something special. Judging by the takeoff and landing, this was not the first time. But it was the first we witnessed. No other activity for the next 30 minutes, and then heat and sun drove us away about 11:25 AM. I posted a rough photo of the takeoff, but will replace when I post-process. SH
Sunny, 80s, low humidity, slight northwest breeze. I kayaked around the nest from a respectful distance. Both parents were on the nest and seemed to be coaxing the chicks to try out their wings. At one point, on parent did a "helicopter liftoff" (see photo), seeming to show the chicks how to fly. Parents left nest after additional kayakers approached. Chick #1 was trying out its wings--flapping, but not actually lifting off the nest. Chick #2 watched but did not flap wings or attempt to fly.
Overcast morning, at 11:00 AM, low 80's, quite breezy - winds 12-15. When I arrived one adult was leaving the nest and the rest of the time I was there the other adult was on the nest. At first I thought there was only one chick, but a second one made an appearance and I got a photo, posted today. The only other activity was red-winged blackbirds and some kingbirds in the marsh, and a great egret and great blue heron in the tidal gut. Both took off before I left, and an adult osprey flew overhead with a fish. Perhaps the male from the nest, but he didn't go to the nest before I was gone.
06/28/22. 0930. Full sun comfortable 72 degrees with pleasant 11 mph NW breeze. Both adults on nest feeding three chicks. Kayakers approached the nest area and both adults left the nest, circling high above, calling out. When kayakers left the area the female returned to sit on nest edge. SR
Overcast, upper 70's, wind calm, tide approaching high (high enough kayakers came into the tidal gut). When we arrived, around 10:15 AM, both adults were at the nest, the male perched on the side. The heads of three young chicks were easily visible and the female adult was feeding all three chicks. No change at the nest until a group of kayakers came into the gut, driving away first the male and then the female adult, leaving the chicks unattended. When we left the kayakers were still present and the adults had not returned to the nest. The female was in a nearby tree and calling out. The male was flying back and forth around the nest, but with two kayakers sitting directly under the nest it would not return.
06/15/22 1130 Full sun 80degrees wind west 3 mph. One bird sitting upright on edge of nest in spite of large group of noisy young kayakers in the immediate area. When kayakers left, the bird moved down to the center of nest to a more horizontal but not brooding position, then back to the edge of the nest. No chicks were visible at any time, though they probably hatched over a week ago. The lone bird never left the nest and no other osprey was seen during my watch. SR
Sunny humid, high in the upper 70's, winds southerly 5-10, tide mid-high and rising toward flooding road conditions at 10:45 AM. Both ospreys were on the nest. The male was sitting near the edge. The female was not as low in the nest as previously seen. She might have been sitting on chicks or maybe just 'rearranging' things.
Cloudy day with drizzle, winds NE 10-15, temperature in the upper 50's. Very little activity. The female was alone, sitting low on the nest except for briefly standing up once. There was no sign of the male. The only other bird activity was kingbirds, red-winged blackbirds and a couple of tree swallows in the marshes. We spotted a large fish in the tidal gut, but couldn't determine species - snakehead? carp? As we walked back to the car we spotted an osprey in a tree with a fish. It took off, but did not head to MC3.
05/20/22 9-10 AM Mostly sunny Wind South 5 mph 74 degrees 89% humidity real feel 85
One Osprey low in nest. Partner brought and ate fish before flying off, not to return on my watch.
Species heard but not seen: Eastern Kingbird, Fish Crow, American Crown, Common Yellowthroat, Yellow Throated Warbler, Pine Warbler, American Goldfinchm Purple Martin, Song, Field and Chipping Sparrows, Eastern Wood-Peewee, Canada Goose, Red Winged Blackbird, Northern Cardinal, Eastern Towhee, House Finch, Robin, Flicker, Grackle, Cedar Waxwing, Eastern Meadowlark, Brown headed Nuthatch Carolina Wren, Pileated Woodpecker, Brown headed Cowbird.
Species seen but not heard: Tree Swallow. SR
Cloudy day, temperature in the upper 60's, calm winds, light showers. When I arrived, around 10:30, the female was sitting low in the nest and the male was perched near her. After about 15 minutes the male flew away and he didn't return while I was there. The tides have been high all week but no flooding on this day. Other birds spotted were one bald eagle, several red-winged blackbirds and tree swallows, and one pair of tree swallows seem to be nesting in a nearby dead tree trunk, inside a large hole.
05/03/22 Mostly sunny East wind @ 6 One osprey appeared to be sitting on eggs. After a few minutes, the partner flew onto nest and replaced the sitting bird, who flew off, returning with a stick, only to leave again and did not return. One white heron and a pair of mallaards were wading at the edge of the tidal gut. SR
Cloudy day, temperature about 60, wind NE 8-10 mph. One osprey sitting on nest, which was full of sticks. She/he sat on nest for about 30 minutes, then stood up on the edge of the platform and preened. No sign of another osprey, and minimum other bird activity. Lots of red-winged blackbirds, one bald eagle in the distance, one pair of Canada geese in the tidal gut.
04/18/22 1015-1115 39 brisk degrees cloudy wind NE 8 mph
Upon my arrival, there were two ospreys on MC3 surrounded by thin layer of nesting material. Several minutes later the male left and returned shortly with a fish. Soon he left with the fish and the female followed. They circled, landed briefly in a tall pine tree, then both flew off, out of sight and did not return into view. A lone Forster’s tern patrolled the tidal gut. Large number of ducks floated on far side of Marshy Creek. SR
Today was sunny and clear, temp 55, mid-tide, light southerly wind. No ospreys on the nest during the 11:15-12:15 period observed, but there were three ospreys flying over the marsh, one with a fish. Unlike previous observations, there were no bald eagles, but there was one snowy egret in a trailside tree, two terns were flying over the marsh - they appeared to be Caspian Terns. One pair of Canada Geese in the tidal creek, and one yellow breasted warbler heard by the trail. The nesting material on the platform had not increased, and in fact appeared decreased.
04/05/22 9:00 -10:00 AM. Grey day, Light rain. Temp 49, wind SSE 7, high tide. Several sticks on platform but no ospreys. One osprey perched high in tree across the tidal gut, another seen flying east of trees by trail to kayak launch. Other birds seen-Bald Eagle, many tree swallows, white egret, Cardinal, Female Wood Duck, many ducks on Marshy creek, bluebird , red winged blackbirds and grackle in grasses near tidal gut. SR
Today was a wintery day - 11;45-12:30 Sunny, Temperature 38, winds 8-10, gusting to 18. Low tide while we were there. No ospreys were on the nest, but there were twigs, so a nest had been started. With recent heavy winds gusting over 40 it is possible some twigs had been blown away. One lone osprey was in a dead tree along the trail, and a second one was heard. Also, lots of tree swallows were feeding in the mud at low tide, and an adult and immature bald eagle were spotted flying over Marshy Creek and surrounding grasses.
03/22/22 - 1030-1130 Fair 56 degrees Wind N5.
NO ospreys sighted. Hundreds of UD (Unidentified
Ducks!) and two Buffleheads sighted on Marshy Creek. Brown-headed Nuthatch,
Red-winged Blackbird and Eastern towhee heard nearby. SR
Update on 3/15 - 10:45-11:45. sun and high clouds, winds 5-8, temperature 55. No ospreys sighted, a pair of bald eagles were across the marsh in a tree, still several canvasbacks, buffleheads, etc, and one brown nuthatch in a nearby tree. SH/PH
March 8-11:15AM-12/15PM. Sunny, winds12-15, temperature 46F. No ospreys observed. Other activity in, over and/or near Marshy Creek included 1 Great Horned Owl, 1 Bald Eagle, 1 Great Blue Heron, 3 Gulls and 5 Mallard Ducks. SR
March 1 - first day of monitoring this nest. 10:45-11:45 AM. Partly cloudy, winds 8-10, temperature 50F. No Ospreys observed. Other activity in Marshy Creek included 2-3 bald eagles, 1 tundra swans, a few mallard ducks and hundreds of canvasback and bufflehead ducks. SH/PH